Tag Archives: outdoor adventure

Christophe Launay – Following Seneca’s Philosophy

Thomas Coville and the trimaran Sodebo during a sea trial between La Trinite Sur Mer to Brest.
 
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." That sentence, from the Roman philosopher Seneca, has become my personal motto.
 
I started shooting ocean photography in 1998, after moving from France to Sydney, Australia. I was born in New Caledonia, a French territory in the Southwest Pacific, and my parents gave me my first bath in the warm Pacific Ocean, when I was just a few weeks old. Since then, I've always been attracted by the ocean.
With my ocean photography, I'm trying to convey what a special and spectacular sport yachting really is. For me, sailing photography came naturally, and I found that I could be extremely creative with my images, once I was able to prove I could also produce clean photography. I'm always trying to achieve the trinity of what I believe makes a great photograph: technically sound, great composition, and a great story. Although it's easier to concentrate on getting close to the yachting action, my aim is to capture both the action and the seascape, without compromising either. In the process, I've been fortunate to travel to some great sailing areas and it has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated and enthusiastic sailors.
Thomas Coville and the trimaran Sodebo during a sea trial in Marseille, before his record attempt Marseilleto Carthage.
To succeed on the water, you have to love and respect the ocean, keep things simple, and work with an open mind and wide eyes. You want to try to make every boat look as if it is one of the great beauties of the sea! You have to know your gear perfectly, be able to fix things yourself, be careful of the people around you and fully concentrate at all times. Be prepared, because a tricky situation can escalate into a disaster suddenly. For this reason, I always try to have a storyboard for the shoot in my head. At the end of the day, this kind of photography requires a lot of intuition, fitness and of course, luck.
Thomas Coville and the trimaran Sodebo during a sea trial between La Trinite Sur Mer to Brest.
I had the opportunity to photograph Thomas Coville, on his trimaran Sodebo, for the performance outdoor clothing company Helly Hansen. We shot during his training sessions in the Atlantic Ocean, before he set the world circumnavigation record. Thomas is 50 years old, but with a body of a 30 year-old. He's one of the best offshore sailors in the world, owning several solo, non-stop records for sailing around the world. He has sailed on a 100-foot-carbon-multihull on his own, and it's hard to truly appreciate until you're onboard just how impressive, fast (average speed 35 to 40 miles an hour ) and frightening this kind of yacht sailing can be.
Thomas Coville and the trimaran Sodebo during a sea trial between La Trinite Sur Mer to Brest.
One of the biggest challenges is finding the best way to capture these images. Sometimes I'm in a helicopter, sometimes in a chase boat. For this shoot with Thomas, I was with him onboard the trimaran. At the kinds of speeds he goes, you simply can't follow him in a tender, you have to be right there. For a day like this, you always have to be ready for any situation, but sailing with professionals, I trust them 110%, without question. I keep myself fit, prepared, and calm, no matter what happens.
Thomas Coville and the trimaran Sodebo during a sea trial between La Trinite Sur Mer to Brest.
Thomas Coville and the trimaran Sodebo during a sea trial between La Trinite Sur Mer to Brest.
See more of Christophe's images here!

Sunny Stroeer – Grand Staircase Escalante Adventures

Libby and Alli canyoneering through narrow Zebra Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA
“Let’s do something that’s ACTUALLY fun.” Libby Sauter, Yosemite bigwall climber extraordinaire, turns to me with a pleading look while we’re huffing and puffing and shivering in the Argentinian cold at 18,000ft. “I mean it. Let’s get this mountain over with, and then let’s go somewhere remote and adventurous - but the type of adventure that’s WARM and FUN.” We’re just barely halfway through a brutally difficult six-week speed record mission on 22,838ft Aconcagua, capturing content for adidas Outdoor, and we’re already brainstorming our next project.
Cathedral in the Desert is a partially submerged sidearm of Glen Canyon and one of Lake Powell's many spectacular natural treasures. As water levels in the lake recede, more of Cathedral in the desert becomes accessible to intrepid explorers. Utah, USA. Self portrait.
Three months and one high-altitude speed record later I am still huffing and puffing, but this time in a very different setting. Libby, myself and our friend Allison are standup paddle boarding on Lake Powell as part of a multi-sport adventure - the very adventure that was conceived during those long cold days on Aconcagua. This time we’re focused on advocacy rather than on the quest for standout athletic performance: we want to playfully explore Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, to capture images and stories that can help advocate for the preservation of these tremendous landscapes.
Libby looking at map while sitting on stand-up paddleboard, Lake Powell, Utah, USA
Libby, Alli and I start out with long slow days of desert trail running and canyoneering before packing up to embark on a two night / three day SUP backpack. We each carry forty pounds of gear - paddleboards, overnight and emergency gear, and my full camera kit - cross-country along miles of remote and difficult slick rock terrain as we gradually descend into the hot maze of canyons that defines Lake Powell. Five hours after setting out from our vehicles we finally reach the lakeshore, tucked away deep in the sunless bend of a canyon.
Libby and Alli trail running down hill through desert in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA
This is where we’ll inflate our paddle boards and take to the water. But this is also where Libby discovers that she only packed in the blade of her three-piece collapsible paddle and not the shaft, which throws a bit of a wrench into our plans to SUP dozens of miles in the next 48 hours. Hiking back to the cars to retrieve the missing shaft would be a ten hour round trip and is out of the question, but as the old adage goes in these types of adventures: “If you don’t have it you don’t need it.” We devise a way to jerry rig a workable paddle from our combined kit plus a tree branch or two.
Beautiful natural scenery of sandstone cliffs reflecting in Lake Powell, Utah, USA
The next two days are my personal crux: I am doubling as SUP guide - since neither Libby nor Alli have experience on a standup paddle board or on the lake, while I can draw from my lesson’s of an eight-day solo SUP expedition that I embarked on in these same parts the prior year - and as photographer while also balancing my camera gear on the front of my paddle board, camera and lenses precariously close to a potential watery death.
Libby climbing on sandstone cliff, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA
It’s not an easy setup but this is my favorite way of shooting: as part of a self-motivated, intimate project that results in organic imagery. This particular mission in Grand Staircase is just that - a passion project that combines adventure and creative work in the best possible way. And at the end of our time on Lake Powell and in Grand Staircase, the three of us walk away with a treasure trove of images, memories, and an infinite amount of excitement to plan the next project.
Libby smiling while holding Moqui Marble, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA
Close-up of desert primrose growing in desert, Grand†Staircase-Escalante†National Monument, Utah, USA
Sunny and Alli canyoneering through narrow Zebra Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA
Majestic scenery with submerged bare trees against sandstone cliffs in Lake Powell, Utah, USA
See more of Sunny's images here!

She’s All That: 17 Photos that Celebrate Adventurous Women Around the World

Today is Women's Equality Day! Designated as a national holiday in 1971, Women's Equality Day marks the anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment which officially gave women the right to vote in 1920. To honor this great day in history, we're celebrating the adventurous women all across the globe that inspire us with 17 photos from our 'She's All That' gallery, which capture the power, spirit and greatness that is woman in the outdoors! Today, and every day, women everywhere should be treated as equals. Learn more about how you can support women's equality here.
Strong, athletic female does an aerial on the trail at Wonderland Lake in Boulder, Colorado
Strong, athletic female does an aerial on the trail at Wonderland Lake in Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Alexandra Simone
A girl surfs a small wave on her longboard
A girl surfs a small wave on her longboard. Photo by Sergio Villalba
Sarah Felchlin smiles for a portrait while carrying her crash pad to go bouldering at the Buttermilk boulders just outside of Bishop California.
Sarah Felchlin smiles for a portrait while carrying her crash pad to go bouldering at the Buttermilk boulders just outside of Bishop California. Photo by Corey Rich
Artist's Point, Cascades, WA
Artist's Point, Cascades, WA. Photo by Gabe Rogel
Woman holds out two fern fronds like wings in the Hoh Rainforest, WA.
Woman holds out two fern fronds like wings in the Hoh Rainforest, WA. Photo by Hannah Dewey
A woman hooked up to a bluefish. Cape Cod, MA.
A woman hooked up to a bluefish. Cape Cod, MA. Photo by Jess McGlothlin Media
Portrait of an Appalachian Trail hiker taken at Trail Days in Damascus, VA. Trail Days is a festival that Attracts thousands of hikers past and present.
Portrait of an Appalachian Trail hiker taken at Trail Days in Damascus, VA. Trail Days is a festival that Attracts thousands of hikers past and present. Photo by Michael D. Wilson
Girl doing yoga and laughing on the top of a volcano in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Girl doing yoga and laughing on the top of a volcano in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. Photo by Mauro Ladu
Amy Rasic and Janine Patitucci climbing the Aiguille d'Entreves on a sunny day in the French Alps
Amy Rasic and Janine Patitucci climbing the Aiguille d'Entreves on a sunny day in the French Alps. Photo by PatitucciPhoto
A young woman holds her paddle above her head while canoeing across Lanezi Lake during a multi-day canoe trip through Bowron Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.
A young woman holds her paddle above her head while canoeing across Lanezi Lake during a multi-day canoe trip through Bowron Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Christopher Kimmel
Mountain biking on a wet day along the Oregon Coast. Nehalem, OR
Mountain biking on a wet day along the Oregon Coast. Nehalem, OR. Photo by Justin Bailie
A woman hanging upside down as she is lowered from a rock climb.
A woman hanging upside down as she is lowered from a rock climb. Photo by Mike Schirf
Female slackliner walks a highline at Longue-Rive with the St. Lawrence River in the background
Female slackliner walks a highline at Longue-Rive with the St. Lawrence River in the background. Photo by Jared Alden
A female climber boulders a series of huecos on an overhanging roof at sunrise. A band of striated sandstone is in the distance.
A female climber boulders a series of huecos on an overhanging roof at sunrise. A band of striated sandstone is in the distance. Photo by Kiliii Fish
Happy woman paddling a kayak in a wave
Happy woman paddling a kayak in a wave. Photo by Leslie Parrott
floorball players
Floorball players stand against a setting sun. Photo by Adam Kokot
Garni Canyon, Armenia
Garni Canyon, Armenia. Photo by Gabe Rogel
Check out more images from our She's All That gallery here.

Remote Rivers and Treacherous Terrain: Taylor Reilly’s ‘Escaping Desolation’

Our photographers have a reputation for being adventurous. In order to produce such dynamic imagery, they need to be in the heart of nature, continuously seeking out new and thrilling experiences. And although we get to see the fruits of their labor from the powerful photographs they create, sometimes there's more to the photograph than meets the eye - an untold story waiting for anyone who asks. Taylor Reilly recently embarked on one such adventure, which he writes about in a new essay titled, Escaping Desolation. Escaping Desolation is the story of 3 friends on 1 raft taking a 90-mile 7-day trip down the Green River through Desolation and Gray Canyons in Utah. The trip runs smoothly until the second to last day when disaster strikes and their boat is sunk in an unexpected way. The decisions made after would determine their chances of survival and their escaping desolation.
Rafters tackling a rapid in Desolation Canyon along the Green River in Utah.
Rafters tackling a rapid in Desolation Canyon along the Green River in Utah.
Taylor writes,
There we were, laughing at the top of our lungs about everything, and enjoying every second of rafting 91 miles on one of the most remote stretches of river in the country, the Green River through Desolation and Gray Canyons in Utah. Then it struck us and the laughing came to a halt. We were out of beer! It was day six of our seven-day voyage and our three man crew only had one six pack of pumpkin beer left in the cooler. Obviously times were desperate, we were floating through an expansive desert canyon in the middle of nowhere, and all we had was a flavor of beer that made unfiltered river water seem appealing. The mission was clear; we needed to find more beer. Somehow. Just three weeks ago my good friend Tres called me excited that he had just picked up a last minute permit for a rafting trip through Utah. He had just spent most of the summer rafting rivers all over the west and was trying to find friends to join him on one last trip before ski season began. It didn’t take long before Tres had convinced myself, and our long time friend Bobby to join him for a mid-October Green River trip.
Rafter accompanying a standup paddleboarder through Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah. ©Taylor Reilly
Rafter accompanying a standup paddleboarder through Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah.
Our 3-man crew has all been friends for many years. Bobby and Tres had grown up together and I had met them both in college. Since then, we have taken many trips together and we had all gained a substantial amount of outdoor skills and experience. On top of skiing, climbing and backcountry hiking, Tres, our captain, has been piloting his raft on multiple big rivers across the country, for several years. Bobby grew up hunting and backpacking but now he spends most of his weekend’s mountain biking and climbing. He has worked in the outdoor and action sports industries for years and he is extremely organized and motivated when it comes to any outdoor adventure. I myself have ample experience recreationally and professionally in the outdoors. I have been a climber for just about 20 years, I guided for 6, and I have been around water, rivers, and boats my entire life having grown up in Texas. While we all had various and ample outdoor experience, this would be the first big multi-day rafting trip for Bobby and I.
Setting up camp in Desolation Canyon, Utah. ©Taylor Reilly
Setting up camp in Desolation Canyon, Utah.
Our vessel was a 14ft raft with a 4 bay oar frame, and a pile of gear in the back so big that we could have been mistaken for a floating version of the Beverly Hillbillies. For a bit of relevant rafting knowledge: Rafts used for overnight trips use an aluminum frame that holds dry boxes, an ice chest and oar mounts/oars on either side. The captain rows the raft using two 10 foot oars while two passengers can either relax and drink or pitch in as “paddle assist” to help keep momentum through pushy rapids. This is how our 3-man 1-raft team was set up. We had just paddled out of Desolation Canyon the night before and into Gray Canyon earlier that morning, and the “take-out” for our trip was only 12 or more miles, or 1 day, downstream. The plan for this last night of our adventure was to camp just after “Rattle Snake” rapid (2+). First, though, we had to get some beer. It was around noon and we hadn’t seen anyone on the river since the previous night, and being that it was off-season, we didn’t expect to see anyone from here on out. So imagine our surprise when we came around a large bend and found a group of people spread out over 5 rafts and some paddleboards. They seemed to be having as much fun as we were, and the rules of the river dictate that we had to strike up a conversation in search of a trade. When we found out they needed ice, we gave them two of our solid 5-10lb blocks for an 18 pack of Tecate. Success! They invited us to do a short day hike on the west side of the river just before Rattlesnake Rapid, but we decided to keep paddling and get to our camp, so we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
Standup paddleboarder during sunset in Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah. ©Taylor Reilly
Standup paddleboarder during sunset in Desolation Canyon along the Green River, Utah
Heading downstream with a full case of Tecate to get us to the end of our trip, we started into Rattlesnake rapid. Leading into the rapid Tres suggested that Bobby should row this one. This was Bobby’s first big rafting trip and Tres thought it was his right of passage to captain the boat down a “named” rapid. After all, Bobby had put in his time working hard rowing miles of flat-water into headwinds in the days before, now it was his turn to try something a little more rewarding. I looked over and told Bobby to zip up his life jacket, all the way up to the top. He smiled, laughed, and thanked me. It would be his first Class 2+ rapid to paddle. This stretch of the Green River is in general very mild when it comes to rapid strength, especially during the fall. If anything, the river was shallow and slow most of the way. At this point we were all confident that the end of our trip was just around the bend. ©Taylor Reilly As we entered the rapid, Bobby was on the oars, while Tres and I were relaxing in the front. The rapid formed a wave train down the middle of the river, however the raft spun to the right of the ideal line, and started heading straight towards the 40’ cliff that walled in the right hand side of the river. The raft was now being pushed hard by lateral waves and the three of us realized simultaneously that things were about to get ugly. As we neared the sandstone cliff jetting out at the apex of the river bend, Tres started yelling, ”Back row right! Back row Right!” Tres started to move towards Bobby to help him slide the right oar into the raft and away from the cliff to keep it from catching and swinging. But it was too late for that.
Continue reading the full story on Taylor's blog. See more of Taylor's work here.